art 2002/2

Gvidas Raudonius. Indas. 1987, šamotas, glazūra, Ø 26 (iš LDS parodų fondo)

Gražina Švažienė. Dekoratyvinė kompozicija Kalijos. 1980, šamotinis molis, matinės glazūros, 105 x 75; 92 x 65; 50 x 85

Alvydas Pakarklis. Dekoratyvinė vaza.
1986-1987, šamotas, aukštos temperatūros degimas, h 77 (iš LDS parodų fondo)

Modernism and Postmodernism in Lithuanian Ceramics

by Juozas Adomonis

To describe contemporary Lithuanian ceramic works, art critics refer to the term of Postmodernism. The term was introduced in reference to art of the turn of the 20th century, which reflected the tendencies of post-industrial society, which departed from the principles of Modernism and avant-garde art. In Lithuania, traditional concept of ceramic art has also changed. Of value is no longer artistic form, but a concept. Some unique qualities of material are no longer important, as the material itself becomes emblematic of a certain idea. Yet the question remains whether Lithuanian ceramics has really reflected a revolt against Modernism.
Social and political climate in Socialist Lithuania kept Lithuanian ceramic art in isolation from world developments, resulting in a certain inhibition and technical retardation. Yet even then some links with the processes taking place in ceramic art in Western countries were visible. Influenced by their teachers, Lithuanian ceramicists pursued two directions: traditional and Oriental. During the inter-war period the impact of modern avant-garde trends was minimal. The influential professor Liudvikas Strolis championed Oriental concept of ceramic art, which he had borrowed via French school. Him and Jonas Mikėnas tried to graft local folk traditions into period ceramic works, yet it received a superficial treatment in many pieces. The heritage of the pioneers of Lithuanian ceramic art, L. Strolis for one, is valuable above all due to their technological achievement.
Some reflections of late modernism are seen in the works of the end of the 1960s. It was also a period of political "thawing’ and more active participation of Lithuanian artists in international artistic events. Young artists felt less pressure from the authority of seniors. The result was increase in number of works of decorative character and modern ones in public spaces and exhibitions.
The change on Lithuanian ceramic art scene was stimulated by the international symposiums in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Numerous exhibitions held in the last decade were dominated by conceptual work. Without any more conspicuous revolt against belated Modernism, contemporary ceramicists started making use of diverse vocabulary of Postmodernism. This varied mixture is technique is stimulated by discovery and rediscovery of ceramic technologies.